Here are the rules for businesses entering into contracts at a consumer’s home.

It’s what businesses that market products and services door-to-door or in a consumer’s home need to know about the Consumer Protection Act and how it applies to their business.

The 20-day cooling-off period on water heater contracts

Longer cooling-off period and clear contracts better protect consumers.

Ontario is increasing protections for consumers who feel pressured to sign a contract at the door for a water heater, giving them twice as long to reconsider their decision with a new 20-day cooling-off period.

As of April 1, 2015, consumers can cancel a contract signed at the door for any reason and without penalty within the 20-day cooling-off period. Also, suppliers cannot install a water heater within that same period unless there is a request from a consumer or there is a potential safety issue with the heater being replaced.

In addition, water heater suppliers now must:

  • Give consumers information about their rights before a door-to-door water heater contract is signed
  • Disclose key contract terms in clear, easy-to-understand language
  • Provide information to the consumer about costs of long-term leases of water heaters compared with purchasing a water heater outright
  • Make a scripted and recorded telephone call to a consumer to confirm the contract. If it is not confirmed, the contract would be void
  • Pay all cancellation and other fees if the 20-day cooling-off period is not observed

Protecting Ontario consumers is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The new rules are part of the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Door-to-door water heater rentals/removals are traditionally one of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Top Complaints.
  • The ministry’s Consumer Beware List has information about businesses that have failed to respond to the ministry about a written consumer complaint; have had an order issued against them; or have a conviction or outstanding charge pending under the Consumer Protection Act.

Additional Resources

  • Find out about consumer rights and protections on door-to-door water heater sales and rentals, and other goods and services, from Consumer Protection Ontario.
  • The Consumer Protection Act contains several provisions for cancelling a contract, including regulations on “cooling-off” periods.

April 2, 2015

Source: The Government of Canada, The Government of Ontario

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